School’s Out – Now What?

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Schools across the country are either done or will be done shortly. As a parent, this can mean a great summer of freetime, or a summer of wondering what to do with your kids! From a teacher’s perspective, it is important to minimize the learning loss that often happens over the summer, while finding the right balance of free time to encourage development in other areas.

So what can you do as a parent? Here are four key themes to help you plan your summer.

1) Encourage and allow lots of free time. Kids need it to develop socially and emotionally. While activities are good and worthwhile, too much scheduling leaves kids unable to cope with unstructured time and without a chance to learn to play without direction.

2) Evaluate your child‘s strengths and weaknesses as a student. If they struggled in a particular subject the previous year, make sure to do some review, either with online websites or workbooks, to minimize the amount they will lose over the summer. Don’t overdo it and make the child hate learning, but do a little each day to maintain their knowledge.

3) Elaborate on interests. If there were topics your kids loved during the school year and wished they had more time learning, utilize websites and libraries to let them really dig deep into those topics. It will help instill the idea of lifelong interest-based learning.

Playing with this giant chess set at a city event sparked an interest in the game for our older daughter. Photo by Nate J

4) Embrace opportunity. Be willing to be spontaneous with your children. Check with area museums or parks & rec programs for things like outdoor concerts or special reduced admission days for attractions. We keep a Google calendar of anything I hear about, all marked yellow. If there’s a day where the girls want to go somewhere, then I can check the calendar for ideas. If we’re having fun at home, then I know that anything in yellow is something where we don’t have to commit to attending.

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School’s Out – Now What?
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